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Once a Runner: A Novel Paperback – 27 Aug 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 Reprint edition (27 Aug. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416597891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416597896
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

“Part training manual, part religious tract, part love story, and all about running, Once a Runner is so inspiring it could be banned as a performance-enhancing drug.” —Benjamin Cheever, author of Strides

“By far the most accurate fictional portrayal of the world of the serious runner…a marvelous description of the way it really is.” —Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated

“The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and you’ll never need another motivator.” —Dave Langlais, Runner’s World

"The best novel ever written about running."--Runner's World

About the Author

John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. He was the Southeastern Conference mile champion three times, and the United States Track and Field Federation national champion in the steeplechase, and was the teammate of Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Jeff Galloway on several championship cross-country teams. A graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is like a marathon in reverse. It starts off weak and is quite painful to get through at times, but improves leading to a strong denouement (which is quite thrilling). In essence therefore it gets 2/3 stars for the first half and 4/5 for the latter. My overall rating reflects the fact that I am runner - my feeling being that if you aren't a runner you probably will come away feeling less than enthused about it.

The story follows a university student (Quenton Cassidy) and his running team mates through a period of heavy training during which they are embroiled in a sporting controversy which leads to Cassidy being sidelined on the track just when the world mile record holder is going to be competing at a local meet. Can he get himself readmitted onto the track and if not will he miss this date with destiny? Sorry for being a little vague here- but I think giving away too much of the plot will ruin the story.

The story is sold in certain quarters at "part training manual...religious tract...love story," so let me say at this juncture that if you want a training manual read 'The Lore of Running', if you want a religious tract try an actual Holy Text; as for love story...I'm not sure that a character actually explicitly expresses love or ardour at any point in the book! It's all about running...and if you like running you will probably enjoy it.

But it does have quite a few weaknesses. The central characters are very weakly pencilled in and I found it hard to sympathise with Cassidy for much of the book- we don't learn about his background and near death experience until we are almost 3/4 of the way through the book. As a a result its hard to really care about what happens to him.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first novel by John L. Parker Jr in the series. Inspirational, motivational and a must read for all runners alike. I will be reading this again and again!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a keen mid pack marathon runner I had such high hopes for this book after reading the excellent reviews here and on Amazon.com. Even from the first page you can tell how the book is going to pan out "the joggers were out again on the track". It's hard to take the book seriously as it's written in old American slang, think of the character Boss Hog from the 1980's TV show "Dukes of Hazard" Sentences like "horn gawn darnit" regularly pop up as do sentances like "the high jumpers were out practicing at 3am just for kicks those boys sure were crazy all right!"I suppose if the reader had actually gone to a University in Florida in the 1970's and was a semi-Elite/Elite runner then it would be an interesting read. There are so many excellent running books out there, it's a shame that this is not one of them.
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Format: Paperback
this book is the best book i've ever read about running. This books truly digs in to a runner's spirit and reveals it to the world. definitely a classic that shouldn't be missed by any running afficionado.
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Format: Paperback
Once a runner is the most inspirational book about running that I have ever read. Currently I am on a Track and Cross Country team. This book totally helped me take my training up to the next level.
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Format: Paperback
Parker lived and trained with Frank Shorter and Jack Bacheler and the other Florida Track Club greats of the early '70s. He captures that atmosphere perfectly. Bruce Denton is Bacheler, Kernsville is Gainesville, Dick Doobey is Doug Dickey, and Quenton Cassidy is... the author - in his dreams, or aspirations. Even better, his dreams become yours. I don't know any serious runner who doesn't love this book. It's at least 20 years old - ignore that 1987 publishing date, Parker self-published it earlier - and it still holds true, absolutely.
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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 1996
Format: Paperback
Want to know what makes a runner tick?
Read this book...you'll be forever
changed. It describes a fictitious collegiate
track program with some very colorful
characters. Their tales and traumas
boil down the essence of running.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book a hard read - owing to the almost impregnable language represented as used by American college kids in the '70s. But what really put me off were some of the metaphors: 'Her neck smelled like a parakeet's tummy.' I'm unsure how that is supposed to assist the reader in obtaining a clearer understanding of how his girlfriend smelled.
I gave up at page 142 and the book now resides in a charity shop along with the sequel 'Again To Carthage' which I - unfortunately - purchased at the same time.
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